Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why Two Touches Just Doesn't Get the Job Done

For the past two weeks, I've been writing about Member Development. Heh heh.

So, the buyouts were taken at our nation's capital's major national newspaper (and there really is only one. I've also worked at the other one that says it is, and trust me--those MFs all crazy up in there). I'm not going to cry for my favorite writers or columnists, or for me, Argentina (or any of the other bureaus that have been nailed shut over the years. Because who cares what's happening to those people anyway.). Most of them will go on as contract. (Paralleling the "efficiencies" in federal contracting--lose your job, get hired back for more money, and somehow we all save money from it.) Financial took a big hit, but who needs to know about boiler room mortgage companies, anyway?

Other people can mourn the writers. What I come to bury not to praise is the Washington Post's new copy editing structure, called the "two touch" system. Which sounds like what you get when you can't afford the Emperor's Club.

Even when I worked at a little local, we had at least three reads and a page proofing on all copy. No more. Now much of the writing at one of the two remaining major dailies (nah, I don't count LA either, and Chicago bowed out way back) will get a quick hand job and be sent straight to you!

When the good copy editors are gone, the skeptics are gone, the institutional memory is gone, the integrity is gone, the woodwork squeaks and plagiarists and fabulists and liars and starfuckers and self-promoting freaks of all stripes, not to mention simple scared barely interns who are easily fooled, come on in. And then someone's using the money that's supposed to pay for school building repairs to buy his cousin a Mercedes, and your kid is getting her ass shot off halfway around the world because someone started a war, and you couldn't get a straight read on what was going on early enough to at least try to do something about any of it.

Give me back copy editors and stay off my lawn, you kids!

Not everyone agrees with me.

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